BYU point guards Williams, Hall working to cut down on turnovers
BYU’s youth and overall newness is showing at point guard.
As the Cougars prepare for their opening game in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas against USC on Wednesday they are still trying to rein in their turnovers.
BYU is averaging 19.2 miscues through the first four games this season, up from 12.6 per contest in 2021-22. Of course, last year the Cougars played seniors Alex Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas at point guard, who combined to dish out 274 assists to 141 turnovers.
This season, transfer Rudi Williams and freshman Dallin Hall have 22 assists to 25 turnovers through five games, with 20 of those turnovers charged to Williams.
“Being in a new system and new environment has contributed to that,” Williams said, “but I’m not pointing any fingers. Those turnovers are obviously mine and I take full responsibility. I’m going to study the game more, watch more film, pay more attention to the scout so I can limit my turnovers and try to understand the defense I’m going against.”
After four games, BYU is 337th out of 352 teams in assist to turnover ratio (.62) and its 19.2 turnovers per game is 345th. The Cougars have been outscored 68-50 in points off turnovers in those four games.
A plus-minus number is assigned to each player during a game, which designates how a team does with a certain player in the lineup. If you are plus-2, for example, that means your team outscored your opponent by two points when that player was in the game.
Hall has a better plus-minus than Williams in three of the four games. In Wednesday’s 87-73 victory against Nicholls, Williams was plus-15, by far his best performance of the season.
Hall, who hit the game-winner against Missouri State, is getting just over 16 minutes a game in his first season back from a church mission.
“For Dallin it’s about making the right plays with the ball in his hands,” Williams said. “Dallin was already a smart player coming in. Each game he kind of just grows and gets better in that department. He doesn’t really turn the ball over that much. He’s usually making the right play and going off of two feel, being strong and tough.”
USC, which was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 preseason poll, opened the season with a shocking 74-61 home loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 7. Since then, the Trojans have won three straight game against Alabama State (96-58), Vermont (59-57) and Mount St. Mary’s (83-74).
So far, 6-foot-9 fifth-year senior Drew Peterson (15.8 points per game) and 6-3 senior guard Boogie Ellis (15.8) have been USC’s best players. The Trojans are 8-3 against BYU and won the last meeting 79-52 in 2020, a game played in Connecticut at the Roman Legends Classic.
The rest of the Battle 4 Atlantis field includes No. 22 Tennessee, Butler, Dayton, No. 3 Kansas, North Carolina State and Wisconsin.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament
BYU (3-1) vs. USC (3-1)
Wednesday, 3 p.m. MT
Imperial Arena at Paradise Island, Bahamas
Radio: Sirius XM 143/BYU Radio.org/BYU Radio app/KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM
Live stats: byucougars.com
The Word: USC leads the overall series 8-3 and won the last meeting 79-52 in 2020. … The Trojans opened the season with a 74-61 loss to Florida Gulf Coast but have won three games in a row. … USC leading scorer Drew Peterson, a fifth-year senior, actually played against the Cougars as a member of Rice University’s team back in 2018, a 105-78 victory for BYU. … The winner of the BYU-USC game will play the winner of Tennessee-Butler on Thanksgiving Day, with the losers meeting in a consolation round contest.